Misc reading

The real story behind “a cryptography breakthrough” – worth reading: http://blog.cryptographyengineering.com/2014/02/cryptographic-obfuscation-and.html

Etsy’s Randy Hunt on Product Design: http://www.jasonshen.com/2014/no-silver-bullets-etsys-randy-hunt-on-product-design/

A wonderful article on Bill Murray’s career: http://thedissolve.com/features/career-view/419-the-broken-down-grace-of-bill-murray/

Some programmer tests/practice/kata: http://blog.crowdint.com/2014/02/21/6-tools-to-keep-your-coder-mind-sharp.html

Metrics for dashboard metrics: https://segment.io/academy/dashboard-metrics-that-actually-work/

ShareLaTeX is a online collaborative LaTeX editor, and it’s now open source: https://github.com/sharelatex/sharelatex



I’ve been thinking about AI – actual Artificial Intelligence – for a while.

I went from a believer in the 1980s to a skeptic in the 2000s. My belief until recently was that we won’t see AI for hundreds to thousands of years. I think I still believe that, even though I want AI very badly.

But I will say this much.

Everyone who is making pronouncements about AI is full of shit.

I say this because everyone is on the wrong tack. There’s some fundamental misapprehensions about intelligence and about life itself. I don’t have the answers, but it’s getting clearer to me what the answers have to contain, and I don’t see any of that. I still see the equivalent of humors and phlogiston and ether.

At some point in the next few years, I’ll try to gather my thoughts, because it might be selfish to keep them to myself.

I still read about AI and what people are doing. While there are cool things going on, it’s not AI, it’s pattern matching. Some programs are getting really good at abstracting and sifting and extrapolating. But nothing is generative.

What keyed me off this time? This thoughtful article, which you should read, and act on.


Here are some clues where you know it’s piled high and deep. If you see the word “emergent” used, that’s a synonym for “we have no fucking clue, but magic might happen”. And when people talk about human cognition versus reptile, they are lost – because we can’t even make a reptile-level AI, or even an AI the level of an amoeba.

I want AI, because then we would actually understand some of the most important things in the universe. But wanting and having are lightyears apart.